It's nice to see some huge differences between this episode and the game, and I very much welcome these differences.
Remember in my review of the last episode where I said that Alisha is pretty much desperate? This episode further presses on that quite heavily...to the point that her desperation for a Shepherd moderately changes some details in the story. And like I said, I welcome these very much.
The episode starts right where we left off - Alisha asking Sorey if he's the Shepherd. Sorey, of course, is confused, saying he's just a human. Though they are, technically speaking, in the "Capital of Seraphim," there really is no Shepherd there. All that's there is the Shepherd's mural. Alisha saddens up, thinking that the whole thing really is just a legend after all, and that the world can no longer be saved.
Sorey decides to take Alisha back to his village. Of course Mikleo is against it, especially since Alisha won't give her name in the first place. Sorey argues that he can't just leave her alone since she's in trouble. And besides, to him, she doesn't look like a bad person. Mikleo shrugs and warns him that he better be prepared for Gramps's wrath later.
Once outside the ruins, Alisha is impressed with the scenery before them - the area is so high up that the surrounding cliffs are covered in seas of clouds. She exclaims how this might really be a place where Seraphim live. Sorey comments how she really calls them "Seraphim," and recites that gods, spirits and things unseen are revered by the humans as Seraphim - a quote Alisha recognizes right away from the Celestial Record. Alisha seems to still be holding on to that and asks what the name of the village is - Elysia.
At the village entrance, Mikleo walks ahead, saying that he has to inform Gramps that they brought Alisha along with them. The sight of a human (other than Sorey) attracts the Seraphim living in the village and they approach. Alisha can't see them, though. As they approach, Sorey goes forward and is about to "introduce" them to Alisha, but she cuts him off and addresses the Seraphim directly. Despite not seeing them, she implores them to somehow respond to her and to lend her their power to go against the calamities happening in the world.
Alisha here really believes in the Seraphim, or wants to, at least, to the point of trying to address them when she can't even see them. Her desperation has brought her to do so. In the game, the whole thing about Sorey introducing the Seraphim to Alisha is treated as a semi-joke where Alisha laughs it off.
The Seraphim do not (or cannot?) respond, and Sorey just stares at Alisha, unable to speak because of this sudden display. One of the Seraphim pats Sorey on the shoulder and tells him that Alisha should leave, otherwise she'll just bring malevolence.
At Gramps's house, Sorey gets yelled at for bringing a human into their village. Gramps says that humans will only bring malevolence and calamity to their land and that she should leave right away. Sorey argues that he himself is a human being, too, but Gramps reasons that he's different since he's lived with the Seraphim all his life, making him able to perceive them. There's a fundamental difference.
This early on, we find out that Gramps was the one who gave Sorey the Celestial Record. He questions why he gave it in the first place, since in the book, it states that humans and Seraphim live in harmony. Gramps mutters that those are times long gone, but Sorey adds that Alisha believes in the Seraphim.
Back in Sorey's place, he's having dinner with Alisha. She apologizes for making a scene earlier about addressing the Seraphim that "don't really exist." Sorey diverts the conversation and asks what her hometown is like, and she answers that she lives in the capital of Hyland, Ladylake. Sorey excitedly recognizes the place as where the legend of the Sacred Blade originates, wherein whoever pulls out the Sacred Blade guarded by the Lady of the Lake shall become the Shepherd. Alisha notes that no one has ever successfully done so, though.
With Alisha asleep (she seems to have cried herself to sleep, the poor girl), Sorey steps out and finds Mikleo outside his house. He comes (without all the belts!) delivering a message from Gramps.
In order to not bring forth malevolence from driving her out forcibly, they should just let her leave of her own accord after preparing. Happily, Sorey thanks him and goes back inside.
Mikleo thinks back on his discussion with Gramps, wherein Gramps mentions that Sorey is a steadfast and just man - which is why he worries so much about him.
In the morning, the two are out hunting for pigs - prickleboars in the game, to be exact. Sorey is shown to be able to use a bow and arrow for hunting, unlike in the game where he only uses his ceremonial sword. It's nice to see that he can actually use a bow outside of his armatus.
Alisha asks if this is how he has always lived and Sorey answers that he's never actually left the village. Alisha comments that it must be tough. Gramps is watching from afar, and Alisha seems to have felt his presence. Sorey says that there's probably someone looking out for her. Alisha sighs, saying that Sorey only wants to make her believe that there are Seraphim.
Back at Sorey's place, Alisha is asleep and Sorey is reading the Celestial Record. He's startled by Alisha suddenly waking up - she's still traumatized by the events that happened and wakes up from a dream about it. Sorey immediately goes to her and waits for her to calm down.
Once she's stable, Alisha apologizes and notices the Celestial Record in his hands. She says how all people who've read it dream of exploring ruins around the world. Even she also has that dream, but right now she doesn't have the luxury to do so. She tells the story of what happened to her, making Sorey realize that she reached all the way here in search of the Shepherd in the legends.
Alisha honestly answers to Sorey that she went this far through the ruins in search of the Shepherd, believing he exists. In the game, this is a topic Alisha doesn't really want to talk about and Sorey chooses not to tread on the topic anymore.
After this discussion, however, the Shepherd again becomes nothing but a fairy tale to Alisha. She steps out in despair and breaks into tears by the cliff side, all the while Gramps is watching her from afar.
The next morning, Sorey steps out and wakes Mikleo up from his sleep, demanding for "that thing." He then finds Alisha sleeping on the grass, covered in a shawl as a blanket which Sorey recognizes right away as Gramps's.
Gramps has more concern for Alisha in the anime - watching over them when they're hunting the prickleboars and giving her his shawl thing as a blanket when she falls asleep outside. In the game, he was pretty much just "get her out of here once she's done preparing."
Sorey takes Alisha back to the ruins - toward the area of the Shepherd mural as an attempt to cheer her up, something that wasn't in the game since there wasn't much to cheer her up from in the first place aside from the whole vague generalization that "the world is falling into calamity" thing.
Alisha comments that she's never seen a mural this grand before. Sorey says that if the Shepherd is really just a fairy tale, then something this big wouldn't have been built all the way up there. He also shows her the glove they found which Alisha recognizes bearing the Shepherd's crest - this is what he took from Mikleo that morning. He insists that the Shepherd does exist - he isn't just a fairy tale.
If the world below really is being engulfed by darkness, then the Shepherd will appear - he tells her that he does believe the Shepherd exists and that he will appear in times of calamity. His dream is to have the humans and Seraphim live together in harmony as it was in the days described in the Celestial Record.
Sorey then gives the Shepherd's glove to Alisha (!!!), which never happened in the game. Alisha then declares that she now believes that someone who will be able to pull the Sacred Blade will appear.
Alisha is finally ready. Before leaving, she apologizes to Sorey for not giving her name outright. She introduces herself as Alisha Diphda, a knight. She also adds that she believes the Seraphim exist in Elysia - she felt them throughout the whole time, and even at that exact moment.
She also invites Sorey to the Sacred Blade Festival that is going to be held at Ladylake and returns the Shepherd's glove. For her, whoever the Shepherd is, she sees him as someone like Sorey.
As soon as Alisha leaves, Gramps detects the presence of an intruder within his domain - a hellion at that.
He warns everyone and most of the Seraphim split up to look for the intruder. Sorey and Mikleo run off toward what seems to be the source of the hellion. There, they find Lunarre.
Lunarre has the Seraphim Mason, badly wounded, in his clutches. He comments how the "main dish" should be the only one here, but now two others have appeared.
This battle. Damnnn this battle. This was an intense, beautifully animated battle that is ways above the battle in Episode #00 (Lunarre vs Symonne). Lunarre is particularly more crazy in the anime, it seems. It's definitely way more intense than how Dawn of the Shepherd handled it.
The anime makes it a point to show that Gramps is a powerful being. He is not just some old Seraphim elder - he owns this domain and he can pretty much stomp on anyone if he wanted. Quite literally, too. In the game, they drive Lunarre off by having both Gramps and the rest of the village Seraphim show up, while in this episode we only have Gramps and his dramatic entrance.
The attention to detail is superb - Sorey got beat up by Lunarre for a bit and boy does he look beat up, albeit ever so slightly, but still!
Lunarre knows when he's overpowered and makes an exit, saying that he shouldn't let his main dish get away. As soon as he's gone, Sorey apologizes to Gramps, saying that he shouldn't have sheltered Alisha. Mikleo and Gramps console him, telling him that it's not his fault, and nor is it Alisha's. Gramps also adds that they should no longer turn a blind eye to what happens outside for the sake of their own peace.
Back at his home, Sorey realizes that Lunarre's "main dish" is actually Alisha. Since she's in trouble, he leaves right off the bat after her.
Of course, Mikleo won't let him leave alone and catches him at the village entrance, declaring that he's coming along. He too has also realized that Lunarre is after Alisha.
Mikleo brings out a dagger, something he found in the ruins on Gramps's orders. It belongs to Alisha, and also bears the crest of the Hyland royal family. He points out that Alisha may be no ordinary knight (as we already know in the previous episodes, she's a princess) and that they can use the dagger as a clue to look for her in Ladylake.
While Mikleo's rambling, Sorey is filled with joy and grabs him by the shoulders, exclaiming how happy he is that Mikleo's coming along. Mikleo hides his embarrassment by saying that he's here because Sorey probably won't survive among the humans due to his inability to lie. *Tsun tsun dere dere.*
As they walk down the mountain path, Sorey wonders if Gramps is angry. Mikleo relays a message Gramps said: to be free, to choose the path he believes in, and live life to the fullest. The whole scene about Gramps's pipe isn't in here, but I guess it's not that important.
They finally (and much too suddenly, in my opinion) reach low enough down the path that they see the world below. They marvel at the wonderful scenery of the world before them.
From the beginning of the episode up until the very end of it, they don't reuse any scenes from the Dawn of the Shepherd anime. I would have preferred if they used the cutscene from the game though (which was also used in Dawn), where Sorey and Mikleo both see the world below for the first time - a sight supposedly so breathtaking. In the cutscene used in the game and in Dawn, it was wonderfully built up from the music steadily getting heavier and the visuals building up the scenery. The anime comes up a little short during this moment since it was too busy blending the dialogue that was going on about Gramps and their descent to the world below - this makes the atmosphere-building die down and much too quick for my tastes.
Actually, from Alisha leaving till the end, the episode felt really rushed. It felt like they just wanted to get the Lunarre thing over with and specifically end it at the part where Sorey and Mikleo descend to the world below. This is further proven by the fact that the episode does not have the ending play, and instead has the credits rolling as the two travel down the mountain. It makes me feel like the episode started off with a steady, walking pace, then went running for dear life. It then went to a slower but brisk walking pace only to smack face first into a concrete wall.
In general, this episode of the anime is pretty much a bit of a downer - Alisha lost her friends and many people before her eyes and it's really taking a toll on her. It reaches a point of her finally breaking down and crying about it. In the game, everything is all happy happy - the hunting for the prickleboars, preparations for her departure, looking around Elysia - it was more of a happy thing. In the anime, you just can't help but pity her. The only "happy" thing that possibly happened is Mason living, and I don't really see the point. He dies in the game from this particular moment. Is him living in the anime supposed to lighten up all the sadness the episode had? Or is he going to have some important role in the future? Because if not, frankly speaking him living doesn't really make much of a difference. I hear in the manga adaptation, he actually does live, not because the fellow Seraphim healed him, but because Lunarre never gets to him in the first place.
And one thing I really liked about this episode is getting to see Mikleo in different types of clothes, not because I'm a fan of his (haha) but because it makes sense. You'll notice that his more laid back garb in the anime is loose - and possibly much more comfortable than the one with all them belts. It's because it is for, well, the home. The one with all the belts makes the garment tight and much easier to move around and fight in (except maybe the cape part). The same can be applied for Alisha's clothes - she also removed all the armor in Dawn obviously because it's much more comfortable. In the previous episodes, we also see her without the specific armor pieces on her clothes when she's walking around in places like inside the castle.
Next Episode: #03 -
Mikleo's Funny Face The Sacred Blade Fest. See you next week!
This episode was really visually stunning that I took way too many screenshots. They're all over at our gallery, so knock yourself out.